Kenya Advertisers Now Allowed to Air Commercials During National Events

CA Director General

In the 2016 rules, Communications Authority had explicitly stated that advertisers cannot air their commercials during live screening or broadcasts of national holiday ceremonies, parliamentary proceedings, and state of the nation address, which also forbade sponsorship of such live events. The code also required a licensee to ensure that advertisements aired on its station contain at least 40 percent local content footage.

The newly published 2019 Programming Code for broadcasters, issued by the Communications Authority of Kenya, has dropped the restriction that was contained in the 2016 rules, effective six months from the date of gazettement. Advertisers will have room to air commercials during live national events, granting media houses the opportunity to earn revenue during the prime time. These latest broadcasting rules also rope in subscription and pay-per-view TV stations which had previously been omitted

Free to air broadcasting stations will still be required to ensure that 40 percent of their station’s programming, excluding news and advertisements, is local content within one year of award of license while the requirement that local content programming be increased to 60 percent within four years after receipt of license has been scraped off in the new the 2019 code.

Guidelines on sex, obscenity, and pornography have also been retained with Communications Authority, emphasizing on the need to protect children and vulnerable adults from explicit content, that could provoke or compromise their morals.

While the newly published 2019 Programming Code for broadcasters seems more flexible and incorporating, Communications Authority has retained a ban on all forms of advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products as the requirement necessitates that advertisements should not exceed 10 minutes in any 30 minutes of broadcasting.